Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember. I know, I know, most of you are thinking to yourselves, “she’s lying if she says she likes Thanksgiving more than Christmas!” But hear me out; I have my reasons.
Thanksgiving is somewhat of a mental marker in my head. It marks the true start of the holiday season. It’s the mark of all things homemade, all things warm and cozy, all things thoughtful and intentional. As a young girl, I can remember crawling out of bed on that crisp Thursday morning, opening my bedroom door and getting that first big whiff of “ahhhhh…. Thanksgiving!” I’d run down the stairs, make a sharp right turn, travel down the hallway into the kitchen and see it filled with all the moms, aunts and grandmas already hard at work (with coffees in hand, of course).
I’d stand in the doorway, eyes darting around the kitchen as I took in all the sights of pumpkin and cranberry and flour covering the countertop. I’d take another deep inhale, breathing in those heavenly smells of cinnamon and spice as Frank Sinatra quietly sang in the background. Laughter filled the air as my family members from both sides chatted with one another — catching up on the kids, the jobs, the homes and the blessings.
“Good morning, Madison,” my mom would say to me as I rubbed the sleepiness from my eyes. “Why don’t you help your grandma make the noodles.” My mom knew how much I loved Thanksgiving and so she always found a way for me to get involved. Immediately, I’d jump to action — grabbing my little wooden step stool and hoisting myself up next to my grandma as she methodically rolled out her famous handmade butter noodles (always made from scratch and only made for Thanksgiving day).
There I’d stand, all day long, watching the most loving and influential women in my life prepare each cherished dish of our Thanksgiving dinner one by one, all to be enjoyed together as a family. It truly is the day I most look forward to each year.
To this day, I still get giddy like that little girl standing in the doorway when Thanksgiving morning finally arrives! As I grew older, a deep love for cooking emerged (no doubt from watching days similar to these take place), and I started creating my own annual dishes to prepare for our Thanksgiving dinner. I take pride standing next to those women in our kitchen each year — chatting about our lives, sipping our coffees and mimosas (a more recent addition to the morning ritual), and reflecting on our blessings as we mindlessly cook away together.
While many of our Thanksgiving day recipes are kept under tight wraps (grandma still won’t share her famous butter noodle recipe with anyone outside the family!), I thought I would share one of my own creations that has become a holiday favorite. My Thanksgiving Stuffing is simple, yet flavorful. I’ve played with it over the years and have found the perfect formula that anyone can follow! So, in the spirit of giving, please enjoy the recipe and let me know if you give it a try — I’d love to hear your thoughts!
The best homemade stuffing starts with homemade croutons!:
For the stuffing:
Does anyone else get sad (read: devastated) when it’s time for the Christmas tree to come down? I don’t know about you, but it’s one of the worst feelings for me! November and December is a time filled with such joy and festivity, and when that all comes to an end, it can feel a little abrupt.